Published January 21, 2021
Hamilton County, TN – As students in Hamilton County continue to be relegated to virtual learning, Hamilton County Schools have partnered with WCTI – PBS to air a live learning show with HCS educators on Thursday, January 21st and Friday, January 22nd.
A selection of Hamilton County School teachers will broadcast live from the WCTI studio on Bonnyshire Drive in Chattanooga teaching math, reading, physical education, music and other subjects.
While there are targeted lessons for specific age ranges, HCS states that all students in any of the related age groups are invited to join for the entire three hours of programming.
The lessons are scheduled as follows:
• Lessons for Pre-K through Kindergarten are from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.
• Lessons for 1st grade are from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.
• Lessons for 2nd grade are from 11:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Families can tune into PBS on WTCI with the specific channel varying depending on cable provider.
For EPB customers, the channel is 304.
For those who receive broadcasts via antenna, go to 45.2.
Comcast customers can contact the provider for channel information.
The district states that these broadcasts aim to be used to supplement, but not a replacement, for virtual learning and is mainly intended as a learning alternative for students who do not have access to iPads and laptops.
Jill Levine, Chief of Innovation and Choice for Hamilton County Schools says, “Teachers were concerned that some of their students weren’t able to log on to zoom because of lack of devices and they haven’t been able to connect with them so this is one way we can really reach out and engage kids.”
Hamilton County Schools continue to be in Phase 1 according to HCS Phase Tracker, last updated January 20th.
The tracker shows 3,756 active COVID-19 cases (5-day average) placing K-3 Students still in hybrid learning and 4-12 students on complete remote learning.
According to the current plan, the active case number would have to drop to 2,940 active cases (5-day average) before the learning strategy would change.
At Phase 2, K-3 students would be allowed on campus four days a week and 4-12 students would be hybrid.
On Tuesday, January 19th, Tennessee State Governor Lee expressed concern about the learning loss associated with children not receiving in-person instruction at an education-focused legislative session.
“You can’t say, ‘Follow the science,’ and keep schools closed. You can’t say, ‘I believe in public education,’ and keep schools closed. And you can’t say you’re putting the needs of students first and keep schools closed,” Lee said.
Noting failures in Tennessee’s education system existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, Lee said the pandemic deepened those challenges.
“When only 34% of Tennessee students are proficient or advanced readers by fourth grade, and that’s pre-COVID, something isn’t working,” Lee said, noting that in the long term, learning loss can lead to higher incarceration rates and poverty.
Representative Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) tweeted in reply to his speech, “He talked about using data that says kids do better in person, yet ignored the data on COVID spread. We know kids do better in person, but he didn’t do what was needed so kids can be in person. He ignored the science on COVID.”
However, according to Kidshealth.org, kids are less likely to catch and spread the coronavirus than adults and as long as safety measures are in place, schools are not only a place for kids to learn but also safe places for children to be while their parents are working.
Schools also support kids’ physical, mental, social, and emotional health.
Hamilton County School Board Member, Rhonda Thurman, who is a vocal proponent to getting kids back in school, stated in the HCS Agenda Session meeting on January 19th that, “The National Medical Advice is the best place for children in in school, that we’re doing more harm with children being out of school than children being in school.”
However, local medical advice appears to be leaning heavily on sticking to the reentry plan and not diverging from that course.